Everything was back this week! Well, maybe not everything, but a good portion of my shows returned from their annoying hiatuses this week. There were so many wonderful moments on TV this week, I'm not even sure where to start...
Top Five TV Highlights From This Week: Rex the Trash Possum, Kevin Bacon the Pig, and Some Bipedal Guest Stars Too!
#5) Tina Majorino on Castle - It's pretty much my favorite thing in the world when actors from my favorite departed shows are featured on my current ones. The stars really aligned this week when Tina Majorino (tech-savvy sidekick Mac from Veronica Mars) guest starred on Castle (which, as I'm sure you know, stars Nathan Fillion from my other favorite cancelled show Firefly). This, of course, means I spent most of the episode smiling nostalgically and reminiscing about "the good old days" when Veronica Mars and Firefly were still on the air, and not at all paying attention to the actual storyline of the episode. (From what I can tell, someone got killed and Corbin Bernsen was involved.) And to think, this was only the second most awesome guest appearance by an actor from one of my favorite cancelled shows on Monday night...(see #1)
#4) The Good Wife - What wasn't to like this week? Cary vs. Blake on the stand! Kalinda was even more badass than usual! A hint of bridge-rebuilding between Alicia and Cary! Killer drug dealers! Kalinda slept with Peter! TWIST! (And, to answer your question, yes, all those exclamation points were necessary.)
#3) How I Met Your Mother's montage of Marshall's increasingly outrageous attempts to provoke his friends into mocking him - The gang had been going easy on him since his dad died, and Marshall did everything he could think of to get them to "take off the kid gloves," including growing a soul patch, blasphemously declaring that The Phantom Menace was the best Star Wars movie, and (my personal favorite) Rex the possum: "I found him in the trash. He lives with us now." Other notables from this week's HIMYM were John Lithgow as Barney's estranged father (how heartbreaking was their final scene together?), Barney's "Rotating Vietnamese Shame Wheel" (your guess is as good as mine), and the realization that Ted cannot pronounce the word "chameleon."
#2) Michael's proposal to Holly on The Office - Well, it wasn't his original idea of writing the proposal in gasoline in the parking lot and setting it (and inevitably himself) on fire, but his final proposal did involve a lot of fire. I loved that Pam stepped in and gathered everyone together to help Michael plan this big moment, since, as Pam said, "I've always felt we should be very involved in each other's personal lives in a very major way." When the time was right, Michael walked Holly past all the other Office employees (all holding candles) as she declined their marriage proposals (even Ryan's!), until she came to her desk (also covered with candles), where Michael got down on one knee and asked her to marry him...in his Yoda voice. By this point, the smoke from all the candles had triggered the sprinklers, which added the perfect note of wet whimsy to the moment. Holly accepted (also while doing her best Yoda impression), and everyone in the office rejoiced. Then Michael announced that he was leaving the office to go to Colorado with Holly to care for her parents. There couldn't be a more perfect way for Michael Scott (and Steve Carell) to exit The Office, but it won't be the same without him.
#1) Joan of Arcadia stars reunited on House - Sure, House's prostitute scooter chariot and remote control helicopter shenanigans were amusing, but the reason this episode was so fantastic was that Amber Tamblyn (who played the title character on Joan of Arcadia) and Chris Marquette (who played her love interest Adam) got to share the screen again. And it was glorious. Aside from the fact that I love both actors individually, and that they're both extremely talented, seeing them together reminded me of what great chemistry they have. During their hospital heart-to-heart, it was like they were Joan and Adam again, him with his teary vulnerability, and her with the tender looks of sympathy. It was almost like a deleted scene from Joan of Arcadia...until the end of the episode when we found out Chris Marquette's character was actually a serial killer. (Awkward.)
*This quote from Jeff on Chuck: "If you love something, let it go. If it comes back, you can eat it." (In reference to Kevin Bacon the pig.)
*Community + Pulp Fiction
*The phrase "Stealth 'R' Us," as coined by Phillip the Special Agent on Survivor.
*Jay and the gays on Modern Family - Jay fit in surprisingly well with Pepper, Crispin, and Longines.
*Was that Fred Savage playing tennis on Mr. Sunshine?
BEST NEWS OF THE WEEK (OR EVER): Fox renewed Fringe for a fourth season! IT'S A MIRACLE! Everyone should celebrate by watching Fringe live tonight on Fox at 9 pm! Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go organize my celebratory parade in Fringe's honor.
#5) Jack Savoretti's Cover of "Ring of Fire" On Greek (Listen to it here.) - This slow, contemplative take on Johnny Cash's classic song was the perfect background music for Casey and Cappie's bittersweet, alcohol-induced reunion, and it went so well with the existential angst of the whole episode.
#4) Dan Out-Blairs Blair On Gossip Girl - Dan and Blair. Blair and Dan. I always thought their relationship consisted solely of a mutual hatred and a shared love for Serena, but I have to admit the combination of their animosity, intelligence, and wit makes for some very amusing television. This week they went head to head while working at the same internship at a fashion magazine, but since Dan knows Blair better than the other interns, he didn't fall victim to her sabotage. For example, when she tried to get him to take their boss the wrong pair of shoes, he told her: "I didn't date Serena van der Woodsen for two years and not come away knowing that those are Marc Jacobs. And they're mustard." Even better was Blair's attempt to distract Dan, when she yelled, "Oh look! It's Georgina's baby!" (Too soon?) But in the end, Blair didn't bring down her full force of wrath on Dan because she promised to fight fair, and it looked like they might almost be something marginally close to friends, until Dan made a preemptive strike to sabotage her instead, not trusting her promise to make it a clean fight. One awkward public scuffle on the floor of a fashion event later and they were both fired. But wait! Dan threw himself under the bus so Blair could keep her dream internship. Maybe Dair isn't over after all...
#3) What Do a Former Nazi, a Six-Hour Erection, and Ed Begley Jr. Have In Common? They Were All Featured In This Week's Episode of Off The Map! - That's right, folks. Ed Begley Jr. plus cast regular Rachelle Lefevre made for two Veronica Mars alumni in one episode for the second week in a row. (Last week Tessa Thompson guest starred.) As long as this show can keep up with the ludicrously random plot threads, continuous Veronica Mars alumni, and juicy/sappy doctor background stories, I will gladly keep watching.
#2) Community Makes Dungeons & Dragons Cool - A show has to be pretty secure with its sense of humor and characters to pull off a stunt like having an entire episode unfold as a role-playing game, and luckily for us, Community is 100% confident in its tone and humor. The highlight was probably Annie (playing the role of "Hector the Well-Endowed") and Abed's (playing a maiden along their path) verbally dictated sex scene (including some hand motions), which ended with Annie--I mean, Hector the Well-Endowed--declaring, "I stroke her hair lovingly and spoon her for the appropriate amount of time before leaving." This prompted Troy (who was taking notes on their encounter) to ask, "How long is that?" This show is amazing.
#1) Michael and Holly Reunited On The Office - We were all wondering when those crazy lovebirds were finally going to get back together, and time was a-tickin' since this is Steve Carell's final season on The Office. I loved how the whole episode led up to their adorable reunion on the rooftop, showing how they think exactly the same. Dwight was particularly amusing once he discovered that Holly could be used as a kind of tracker to find Michael just by following her whims for egg rolls and free stress balls. We all knew Holly and Michael would eventually find their way back to each other.
*Will Forte's guest appearance on Parks & Recreation as a Twilight-obsessed dad who chained himself in Leslie's office in order to get her to put the Twilight books in the Pawnee time capsule.
*Chuck took down Volkoff, got one family member back (his mother), and added a new one (Ellie's new baby) on this week's Chuck. In the words of General Beckman, "Get this man a chopper."
*Watching Jules watch Grayson watch Field of Dreams while crying on Cougar Town. After all, Grayson's tears are Jules' "double rainbow."
*The ultimate douche face-off on The Good Wife: Cary and Blake went toe to toe in this week's episode, and the levels of hostility and testosterone were matched only by the undercurrent of homoeroticism.
*This quote from Angelo on this week's Top Chef: "I wanted to be a fruit stylist, back in the day."
Clockwise from top left: 'Buffy' and 'Gilmore Girls' alum Danny Strong guest stars on 'How I Met Your Mother,' Josh (Sam Huntington) wakes up sans clothing after a full moon on 'Being Human,' Cate (Shiri Appleby) gets teary in the 'Life Unexpected' finale, and Martin Henderson practices his broody/wounded stare on 'Off The Map.'
Okay, so instead of a brief-yet-amusing summary of every show I watched this week, I'm giving you my top five moments on television from this past week. You could choose to look at this as me being lazy, or you could decide that this actually requires me to be much more discerning and thoughtful in what I include, therefore I'm actually doing more work! Either way, here are my five favorite TV events of the week (you're welcome):
This week's TV lineup featured a surprising number of hookers/porn stars (see House, Raising Hope, and arguably How I Met Your Mother), conspiracies (see Castle and Community), fake guns (see Modern Family and Community), and crying (see Modern Family, Terriers, and Cougar Town), which are always fun plot points. Throw in some exciting guest stars, and it was a pretty great week of television. Here's the rundown...
The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping, and the creepy mannequins in the Old Navy commercials have changed out of their swim suits and into their scarves. That's right, people. It's November! And you know what that means: November sweeps. Sure, there were plenty of repeats and sub-par episodes this week (with some exceptions, like the ever-stellar Terriers, and The Vampire Diaries, which somehow seems to maintain the quality and excitement of sweeps every week), but that's just the quiet before the storm, laying the groundwork to pave the way for the wonderment of sweeps, which should kick in this coming week. Until then, let's recap this week's TV highlights (and some medium-to-low-lights)...
It was another week of great TV, darkened only by the news of what we'd all feared: ABC will be premiering their new reality competition Skating With The Stars this November, allowing them to continue wasting three hours of air time a week on has-beens and celebutantes making fools of themselves to music, even after this season of Dancing With The Stars has ended (God willing). If this premise sounds familiar to you, it's probably because it's nearly identical to Fox's Skating With Celebrities which only aired for one season in 2006. But by all means, please try it again, ABC.
But enough bad news, let's discuss the good news, namely the winning shows of the week...
Fall is here! Which means there's a slew of new and exciting TV shows for us to watch while we sit in our dorm rooms not doing our Spanish reading. And let's not forget the returning shows that can't be missed. However do I manage to watch 24 shows without a DVR? It's not easy, I'll tell you that much. So let's review what shows are required viewing for this television season:
My Generation - Thursdays at 8 on ABC (Premieres Sept. 23rd)
Let's be honest, this show will most likely be canceled before Christmas. Why? Because I will watch it. Sadly, I am the Angel of Death of television shows, so please, for my sake, watch this show. It's a mockumentary dramedy following a group of friends ten years after graduating from high school. I'll give you candy if you watch it.
Hawaii Five-0 - Mondays at 10 on CBS (Premieres Sept. 20th)
What's that you say? They already made a show called Hawaii Five-0 in the 70s? Wow, you're sharp. Like many people, I rolled my eyes when I heard CBS was remaking the hit series (can't anyone come up with an original idea these days?), but I was won over by the compelling promos and the positive buzz that has been surrounding this show. Although the theme song is faithful to the original, there are some changes in the cast: Kono is now a woman (played by Grace Park), and Danny is now Scott Caan (TWIST!). And did I mention Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) is maintaining his Hawaii residency to take up the part of Chin Ho Kelly? The other main cast member, Alex O'Loughlin, is probably the one person with a worse track record than me in shows getting canceled. The star of one-season wonders Moonlight and Three Rivers is playing Detective Steve McGarrett, so here's hoping the third time's the charm for this charming Aussie and that he can finally get a second season out of a show.
Terriers - Wednesdays at 10 on FX (Premiered Sept. 8th)
This quirky buddy cop noir dramedy has a special place in my heart because the premise and setting is similar to that of the late great Veronica Mars: Unlicensed private investigators uncover the seedy underbelly of Southern California while exchanging witty dialogue and toting along a lovable canine. Ring any bells? Stars Donald Logue (Grounded For Life) and Michael Raymond-James (True Blood) have a beautiful bromance blooming, so tune in if you like funny, well-written shows with cool people and dogs.
Running Wilde - Tuesdays at 9:30 on Fox (Premieres Sept. 21st)
I shouldn't have to say anything more than "From the creator of Arrested Development," and "starring Will Arnett" to make you squeal with joy (ARE YOU SQUEALING YET?) about this new Fox comedy. Keri Russell costars as the yin to Arnett's yang, the straight (wo)man to his clown. Oh, and Arnett's former Arrested Development costar David Cross will be showing up, too. Hilarity is sure to ensue.
Other new shows of interest: Lone Star, The Event, Raising Hope, Better With You, Outsourced, Nikita
Cougar Town - Wednesdays at 9:30 on ABC (Premieres Sept. 22nd)
For the last time, this is not a show about a forty-something Courteney Cox dating younger men. The unfortunate name has given this show a bad reputation, but I assure you it has blossomed into a sharp, funny, well-oiled ensemble comedy about a group of friends/family/neighbors and their respective idiosyncrasies (for a rundown of these quirks, watch my favorite scene from the first season here). Former Friend Jennifer Aniston will be guest starring as Jules' (Courteney Cox) therapist, so that should be fun. I mean, come on, we all know you're watching Modern Family anyway, so how hard is it to not change the channel for thirty more minutes? Find out and you won't regret it.
The Good Wife - Tuesdays at 10 on CBS (Premieres Sept. 28th)
I'm going to be honest with you, I'm still on a Good Wife high after watching the entire first season in one week, so I'm a little overly excited for the premiere of this perfectly-executed legal drama. Here's all you need to know about The Good Wife: (1) It was the only network show other than Lost to earn a nomination for Outstanding Drama Series at the Emmys this year, alongside cable powerhouses like Mad Men and True Blood, (2) Michael Ealy (FlashForward) and Scott Porter (Friday Night Lights) will have recurring roles in the upcoming second season, and (3) it's awesome.
Chuck - Mondays at 8 on NBC (Premieres Sept. 20th)
This show is the Little Engine That Could (Get Another Season), and by some miracle it's still on the air, despite its (undeserved) lack of stellar ratings. Season four promises more excitement, Chuck and Sarah going strong as a spy couple, a baby on the way for Mr. and Mrs. Awesome, and a visit from Chuck's estranged mother, played by Linda Hamilton. How can you say no?
Community - Thursdays at 8 on NBC (Premieres Sept. 23rd)
Another one of my favorite underrated comedies returning for its second season, Community follows a group of misfits at a community college who form a study group led by Joel McHale, who plays a former lawyer walking the line between sleaze and sincerity like a pro. The cast of this show is pure brilliance (Troy and Abed could easily have their own spin-off), and the pop culture references alone are enough to keep you laughing throughout the whole half-hour. And everyone should be positively giddy to hear that Señor Chang (Ken Jeong, who you may know from Knocked Up and The Hangover) is coming back as a series regular. Can you say "fiesta"?
Other returning shows you should watch: 30 Rock, The Office, House, Castle, Parenthood, Survivor, Bones, The League, Modern Family, Life Unexpected, How I Met Your Mother, Gossip Girl, Glee